Words by Rosie Cook

Just two people talking about topics. That’s all it is, but the tranquillity that this simple thing has provided me, is unmatched. When walking become the event of the day, sometimes this needed a little something to spice it up and podcasts became the answer to this. My relationship with the beautiful podcast began around this time last year, when I started running as part of my lockdown liaisons. Yet, because I am most certainly not a runner, I had found that when I listened to music I got to motivated to early on and therefore was close to collapsing only half-way in – not ideal. So, to moderate my fierce competitiveness, that just couldn’t help but rear its ugly head as soon as SHY FX came on, I thought I’d switch to a more wholesome listening, of podcasts. 

This is where it started, and I am so happy to say that podcasts and I are just going from strength to strength. Not only were they a perfect distraction for when I felt like my legs were going to fall off but in a time of absolute isolation, they became the conversation between friends that I was craving. I started with the classic: Desert Island Discs, as my dad had always been recommending them to me and with the absolute infinity of episodes they had to offer, this settled me in nicely and became the backing track to my love affair with running (which safe to say, is not so harmonious as podcasts, far more toxic in my opinion; we’re currently not speaking). Something that was really comforting about my podcast romance was that, in a world where the noise of horrifying statistics seemed deafening at times, podcasts put all of this on mute and instead, put the friendly reminder that ‘we are all in this together’ on full volume. 

As I go on my daily walk, hand in hand with my podcast, the claustrophobia of my own head leaves and I can laugh, cry and vigorously nod my head in agreement, to the comfort of someone else’s story, rather than my own. I must have looked slightly deranged to my fellow walkers as I laughed out loud and continued to mutter ‘oh my god’, ‘that is so true’, with my mouth wide open but podcasts provided me with such an intense feeling of relatability that I just couldn’t help it. Podcasts unapologetically exposed to me that no one really has any idea what is going on half the time and I found immense comfort in that. Even listening to people whom I admire so much are still figuring it all out. How to Fail with Elizabeth Day has been a particular life saver with regards to this. As hinted at in the title, this podcast refreshingly talks about the absolute necessity of failure and how it has landed the likes of Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jameela Jimil and James Acaster exactly where they are today. Day interviews with such compassion that by the end of these episodes you feel like you’re best friends with everyone involved, and I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty happy to be best friends with the above three.

Not only are podcasts the reassuring tap on the shoulder that everyone needs, but they are hugely educational and have switched on my brain in more ways than one. Adulting by Oenone Forbat has probably taught me more about the attitudes of the world than anything else. From consumerism, sustainability, mindfulness and just about everything in-between Adulting tackles the most relevant, possibly even the most difficult topics, yet weaves them into an easy to listen to conversation, between what always feels like, friends. Forbat asks her guests three things they wished they had learned in school and from this, erupts a plethora of worldly wisdom. It is no exaggeration to say, that after listening to these podcasts I am a more well-rounded and well-informed individual, who looks at the world in a better way than she did before. Forbat interviews such a variety of guests, that every glimmer of human perspective is covered, with a word never left unsaid.  

Podcasts have pushed through the clouds of my muddy brain this lockdown and welcomed in a light of clarity. The experiences, stories, laughs and education that may have been partially lost this year were rehabilitated and adapted in a new type of package. One that didn’t require venturing far and wide or travelling overseas but in fact, landed on my very doorstep and could fit into my very ear. 

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